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Minds to be interrupted with Pity ; but though had been long ufed to the Sight of Misery, and had acquired a fufficient Constancy of Features, there was something in the Scene before me too. powerful for Custom ; and I really found myself inclining to Compassion. But the good old Lady foon put a Stop to these Womanish Emotions of my Spirit, falling upon me with the most outrageous Abuse, for daring to asperse ber Daughter's Reputation in that wicked ruffianly Manner, vowing it was a Lie, a damn'd Lie; and the wondered ber Husband could bear it without Refentment. To all which I replied, with some Acrimony, that I was not used to be treated with such Language, that I knew very well how disagreeable a Truth it must be to a Parent's Ear; but since my Office could not protect me from Abuse, my Honour obliged me to take my Leave ; and fo making a Bow, I left the Family to grow calm at leisure; not doubting but I should have a second Summons, when they had reasoned themselves into Temper. Accordingly a Chariot came to fetch me the next Morning; and though the Mother could hardly bridle in her Passion, and the young Lady protested every Moment she was innocent, Affairs were · now too far advanced to be concealed ; and about Five in the Afternoon, I conducted into the World the little malicious Witness, whose Evidence was so fatal to the young Lady's Character, and so necessary to the Vindication of mine. Yet still, after this seemingly conclusive Conviction, the continued to make thre fame earnest Declarations to all who visited her; and one Day, as I
was sitting alone with her, after she was pretty well recovered from the Shock of her Delivery, the caught me hastily by the Hand, and with many' Tears, and many Aflevérations of Innocence, begged of Heaven to blast her immediately with Lightning, if ever she had known a Man. Such earneft Protestations, delivered with such an Air of Truth, and accompanied with so many moving Tears, wrought upon me so strongly, that, I knew not how, I found myself ftrangely inclined to believe her, even against the Remonfrances of Reason and Experience. Full of what fhe had said, I returned Home in a very thoughtful Mood, and continued uneasy and perplexed for a great while; till one Day happening to take up Mr. Woollafton's Religion of Nature delineated, I fell accidentally upon a Passage, which struck such a sudden Light on my Imagination, that I shall beg Leave to quote it at large, as the Groundwork and Foundation of my whole System.
That great Philosopher disputing whether human Souls are traduced from Parents to their children, or supernaturally conveyed into the Fætus at the Time of its Birth (which is a very worthy Subject of philosophic Enquiry, because impossible to be determined, and much a-kin to that learned Disquisition of old, [a] whether Eggs or
[a] Cenforinus. fays, many of the old Philosophers afserted the Eternity of the World upon this excellent invincible Argument, “quod negent omnino posse reperi“ ri, avesne ante an ova generata fint ; cui et ovum “ fine ave, et avis fine ovo gigni non poffit." This ifim teresting Question was once much agitated, as may be fecŋ by Macrobius and Plutarch, who calls it tò arropor και πολλά πράγματα τους ζητητικούς παρέχον πρόβλημα.
“ nal. V mind, and males, by
the Chicken in them are first created) in the fifth Şection of his incomparable Work, has the following remarkable Passage: "If then' the Se« mina, out of which Animals are produced, are: " (as. I doubt not) Animalcula already formed ; 66 which being distributed about, especially in 6 some opportune Places, are taken in with Ali 6 ment, or perhaps the very Air ; being separa« ted in the Bodies of Maleș, by: Strainers proper “ to every Kind, and then lodged: in their semis « nal Veflels, do there receive fome kind of: Ad“ dition and Influence; and then being transfer“ red into the Wombs of the Females, are there 66 nourished more plentifully, and grow too big
to be longer confined: I say, if this be the “ Case, &c." And again, “ I cannot but con« clude that there are Animalcula of every Tribe ď originally formed by the Almighty Parent, to “ be the Seed of all future Generations ; and it is “ certain the Analogy of Nature in other Inftan“ ces, and microscopical Observations, do strongs ly abet what I have said." These are the Words of the great and learned Mr. Woollaston ; which I had no sooner read, than I was instantly thrown into a Reverie, and began to-reflect with myself, that if such little Embryos or Animalcula are fo dispersed about, and taken in at the Mouth with Air or Aliment; and if nothing more is required than a certain hot Bed for them to dilate and expand themselves, till they grow too big to be longer confined, after the Manner of Seeds in a Cucumber-Frame : I say, if this be the whole
Mystery of Generation (and Experiment has since fully convinced me that it is so) I began to question, why might not the Fatus be as completely hatched in the seminal Vessels of the Woman, as when it passes through the Organs of both Sexes? Why should the Animalculum, or little Animal, go such a tedious Progress, make such a roundabout Tour, when there is so much nearer a Road, so much shorter a Cut into Day-light? As to what the great Philofoper mentions of Strainers in the Bodies of Males, that was plainly owing to his Want of Skill in Anatomy; and the only Doubt now remaining with me was, whether Animalcula did really float about in the Air, and side down the 'Throat as he described for I had been used to think they were originally lodged in the Loins of the Males :" But if Mr. Woollason's Hypothesis could be proved, the Consequence, I thought, would , then be easy and undeniable. Here again I was at a Stand; all before me was Darkness and Doubt; I knew not if there were any such Animalcula, or, if there were, I supa; posed them too small to be discovered by the na-, ked Eye; and though perhaps they might be disa cernible with the Help of a Microscope, yet. I knew not where to seek for those opportune Places, hinted at by the great Metaphysician. . .
In this second Perplexity, Fortune again stept in to my Assistance, and my Doubts were unridled, by the following Paslage in Virgil's Georgicks : j
Ore omnes verse in Zephyres finnt rüpibus nltis;'"! !"
Exceptant que leves auras ; et fæpe fine ullis's'; 1993 i 1.9 G 2 ,
Conjugiis vento gravida (mirabile dictu) ..
Thus translated by Mr. Dryden ;
When (wondrous to relate) the Parent Wind, ... Without the Stallion, propagates the Kind. ..
Then fir’d with amorous Rage, they take their Flight
Nor Southward to the rainy Regions run; · But boring to the West, and bouring there, With gaping Mouths they draw prolific Air. i.
- Now it is well known, that this fame Virgil was a great Natural Philosopher, as well as a Poet and a Farrier; and here we see he confidently asserts,
that it was very common for Mares to become · pregnant, without any Coition, only by turning
their Faces to the West, and snuffing up the Wind in that' Quarter : But all Naturalists be19 cancer
i ing agreed that there is a great Analogy and Simi
n my litude in the generation of all Animals, whether
hart Bipeds or Quadrupeds, it occurred to me, that what had happened to a Mare, might, for this very Reason, happen to a Woman.
Thus was I got successfully through two Steps of my Discovery: The great Woollaston has told me, that Animalcula were dispersed about in opportune Places, to be the Seed of all Generations;